Fatima Ali inspired many when she became the first Pakistani contestant to win on Food Network’s Chopped. However, her legacy is wider than her culinary success. When she was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer just one year ago, she did not crumble or wallow in self-pity. Rather she made the most of her last year on earth by sharing love and laughter with those around her. Her bravery touched the hearts of many, including author and television personality Padma Lakshmi. In wake of Ali’s tragic passing Friday, Lakshmi spoke out in honor of her friend, according to Today.
Lakshmi met Ali on the set of Bravo’s Top Chef. Lakshmi was the host of the show for Season 15 when Ali joined the cast. She was soon impressed by the young chef’s big ambitions. Ali had an uplifting sense of confidence and hope for the future. She dreamed of starting her own restaurant in New York. Unfortunately, her plan was hindered by her diagnosis.
When Ali first found out the crushing news of her health crisis, Lakshmi rushed to her side to offer support. While Ali went through grueling treatments and surgeries to remove the cancer that had taken over her body, Lakshmi remained a constant presence in her life.
Although the future looked bleak, Ali never acted like someone with limited time left to live. She never lost her sense of humor or passion for cooking. Now, the wisdom she gained from the experience will be shared with many through an article she wrote for culinary magazine Bon Appetit. Lakshmi hopes that through this article, others will get to know the young chef on a deeper level.
In wake of Ali’s passing, Lakshmi posted a heartfelt tribute to her friend on social media. The post included a video slideshow depicting photos from their friendship. Although she could not find the words to express her sorrow over such a great loss, she shared an inspirational quote from the 29-year-old chef herself.
“One of our brightest stars has fallen from the sky… I have no words, but here are some of hers,” Lakshmi wrote.
“I dream of being better. I dream of being myself again, but I know I’ll never quite be the same, and that’s okay. I know I’ll be different, and, despite the worry that settles into me every time I wake up, I look forward to meeting that woman one day.”